On gratitude and being comfortable in your body

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Instead of a post about low carb cookies, or a rant about how I wish WoW would just reset back to vanilla,* I’m going talk a little bit about being comfortable. It’s taken me years to be comfortable in my own body, and even now, it’s not perfect. Part of the discomfort I felt for over two decades was due to undiagnosed food allergies and autoimmune conditions. Okay, so that’s a start, but I know it runs deeper. 

I can define every stage of my life through my relationship to my body, and further – my awareness of how my body compared to others. Looking back on this, I see how foolish and how much of a waste this kind of thinking is. Why does it matter how much bigger, or smaller, or wider, or taller my body is, compared to anyone else? It doesn’t it doesn’t matter at all.

But of course, 25 years ago, I didn’t realize that. From about the age of 5 on I was acutely aware of these differences in physical appearance – I played a lot of sports, and danced ballet. I was also really tall for my age, and gangly – all limbs, big eyes and a space between my two front teeth. A soccer coach once told me I had a “big foot.” What he meant was that I kicked the ball far (for a 5 year old), how I took it was that I was too big. I took up too much space.

These thoughts plagued me for years, influencing how I saw myself, and how I let others see me. My stomach was constantly puffy and bloated (thanks, Celiac!), so I covered it up. I wore sweatshirts to hide in, baggy shirts. I slouched constantly to try and appear shorter, and I had a really unhealthy relationship with food. I would stay in and not go out, with the excuse that, “I’m too fat today.” For decades.

Then I started studying nutrition in earnest, completed a two year certification program and learned a lot about my body and its relationship to others’ bodies around me. Healing my digestive issues, and watching my autoimmune symptoms dissipate with the addition of nutritious food and the subtraction of foods that were actively destroying my insides (true story), I gained respect for the absolute miracle that is my body. And beyond respect, I started to feel comfortable. I don’t spend hours getting ready for events, or trying on a million outfits. I’ve stopped focusing on silly little thoughts comparing body parts, and started being grateful for the incredible things my body can do.

Our bodies are wondrous, incredible and not a thing to begrudge or disdain. I’m actually kind of appreciative of the years I was in the dark about this, because it’s made me ever more grateful for what I know I have now. I know I’m not alone in this – we all insecurities. But, maybe instead of feeling bad about our bodies, we should start supporting, nourishing, loving and appreciating this amazing vessel.

*I’m almost sure I don’t – remember walking through Desolace? Exactly.

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